Ad data (beta): CRP unveils new tool for tracking FCC ad data
Today, CRP is unveiling a new tool that allows users to track political ad buys daily, as they are reported to the Federal Communications Commission.
CRP’s new project is the latest of several worthy efforts that have sought to unlock this information — crucial as it is to understanding how candidates, super PACs and dark money groups operate in elections. In 2012, Jacob Fenton (then of the Sunlight Foundation) created “Political Ad Sleuth,” a pioneering achievement that became the go-to resource for researchers and journalists tracking ad buys reported to the FCC. Similarly in 2012, ProPublica’s Free the Files project tracked FCC filings, and, like AdSleuth, it engaged users by asking them to help crowdsource the very messy data.
Prior to that, anyone wanting this kind of info had to go to individual television or radio stations to look at records of air time sold by the stations for political ads. That changed in 2012, when the FCC required the network TV affiliates in the nation’s top 50 markets to put their filings in an online political file. The mandate expanded in 2014 to all broadcast television stations, and earlier this year, was broadened again to include cable, satellite and radio.
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Source: Ad data (beta): CRP unveils new tool for tracking FCC ad data | OpenSecrets Blog